Published Photo

Sarah Marie Hirsh
University of Maryland
Somerset County

Diagnosing pest issues on farms can be a challenge, as there are a huge number of pests, diseases, and nutrient deficiencies to distinguish. At the farm where the current photo was taken, the grower was surprised to learn that she had stinkbugs, as she had been diligently scouting for them and had taken precautions against them. Stinkbugs tend to be evasive, actually dropping to the ground and hiding when humans approach. Often, such as in this case, understanding the signs and symptoms of pest damage is critical for Ag Service providers and growers to confidently diagnose and treat problems, as the pests themselves may rarely be seen. The current photo shows the patterns of discoloration that occurs when the stinkbug removes material from the tomato cells, and shows the tiny black dots where the insects’ mouths had penetrated the tomato skin. For publication, the photo was cropped and magnified, with arrows pointing to the black dots. The photo was published in the article “Stinkbug Damage Found in Tomato Fields” on July 18, 2019 within “University of Maryland Extension Fruit and Vegetable News” ( The caption read “In the center of each cloudy spot is a tiny black dot where mouthparts penetrated into the tomato”. This published photo can help growers to know what to look for when stinkbugs are damaging their tomato crop, even when the insects themselves are not found.